By Beth David, Editor
The Fairhaven Selectboard approved the idea of a bike-share program in town a couple of months ago and approved VeoRide, a company that provides bicycles to members of the public on a pay-as-you-go basis. Town Administrator Mark Rees signed the contract on 5/29, and the bikes started showing up on Fairhaven streets this week. The contract is at no cost to the town, VeoRide makes its money through rentals.
The company will start out with 30 bikes in Fairhaven and 30 bikes in Mattapoisett, which is in the same
boundary area as Fairhaven.
The bright, aqua-colored bikes are easy to spot. On Tuesday, they were at the Town Hall, near the bike path at the end of David Drown Boulevard and South Street, at the Recreation/ Senior Center, Fort Phoenix, Pease Park, Civil War Park, and Hoppy’s Landing. But, the specific locations do not really matter, because once the bikes are being used, they will get dropped off at different places.
To use the bikes, riders need to download the app and scan the QR code on the bike. Don’t worry if you don’t know what a QR code is. It’s marked on the bike. You’ll need a credit card. The app will put money into your account, and you use that to rent the bike. It costs 50 cents per 15 minutes. You can also get a monthly subscription for $28.99, a yearly one for $99.99, or a day pass for $6.99. Subscriptions allow you to have unlimited half-hour-rides. Anything over a half-hour is billed at the pay-as-you-go rate. There is no problem, though, with stopping, locking the bike for a few seconds, and then restarting the session.
Once you scan the code, the lock on the back wheel pops open, and you are ready to go. You can use the bike anywhere you want, but you must return it to a spot in Fairhaven or Mattapoisett. Almost any bike rack will do. Be aware of no parking zones on the app, though. If you leave a bike there, it might lock, but you will continue to be charged for use.
The app shows the locations of available bikes in real time. A rider can locate a bike using the app and reserve it for 10 minutes. People without smart phones, though, are out of luck. You need the app.
When you’re done riding, you can leave the bike at any bike rack, or other logical spot. The dockless system means it is easy to ride between locations and not have to worry about a place to leave it or what to do with it while at a restaurant or shopping etc.
That Mattapoisett and Fairhaven are in the same boundary area, is also very convenient, because Fairhaven’s Phoenix Bike Trail and Mattapoisett’s Rail Trail connect to each other. So a rider can start out in Mattapoisett, ride to Fairhaven for lunch, and stop the meter while eating.
Of course, someone else might snag your bike while it’s offline, but that’s where the app’s location function comes in.
The bike is user friendly in a number of ways: The seat adjusts for a variety of heights; the chain has a guard to keep your pants clean; the lights are solar powered; it has run-flat tires; it has a sturdy basket for your grocery shopping (or your dog); and it has no bar across the top so you can swing your leg in easily; it has fenders to keep dirt and mud from flying up; and it has three speeds.
One anonymous person did complain about the location of the brightly colored bikes in front of town hall, saying that they were not in keeping with the historic look of the block.
On Tuesday, as the Neighb News drove around looking for bikes and riders, we only found one person who said he used it just for a quick test ride. Another man said he had trouble with the app. The bikes had, however, only been around for a day or two at that point.
To learn more about the service, visit https://www. veoride.com, call 1-855-VEO-2256, or download the app.
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Click here to download the entire 6/14/18 issue: 06-14-18 VeoRide